Carolina in the Civil War (Location Key)


The first shots of the Civil War were fired when Confederates attacked the Federal army's Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina. Faulkner refers to this event in 5 different fictions, and in Flags in the Dust even notes the first military action that preceded the attack on Sumter: the fall of Fort Moultrie (11), which was evacuated by its Federal garrison and occupied by Confederate forces without a shot being fired on 26 December 1860, three months before "Sumter." The fictions' other references to "Carolina" refer to the war after four years of pyrrhic victories and costly defeats. It is in the late fall of 1864 that Bayard Sartoris' narration in "The Unvanquished" (93), "Skirmish at Sartoris" (59), and The Unvanquished (149, 89) notes that his father's troop is "fighting" in Carolina. Which "Carolina" is not specified, but at that point in the war it's likely to be South Carolina, where Sherman and his army were completing their March to the Sea. Requiem for a Nun mentions Charleston in this later context: the port city is one end of the "constricting loop" that Union forces are drawing around the remaining Confederates during the last months of the Civil War (184). All four of these references keep the reality of war at a distance, but in Absalom! Faulkner provides more graphic accounts of this part of the war. "Carolina" is the place to which Henry and Bon, as part of the Confederate Army of the West, have retreated. The "gutted mansion of a ruined aristocrat" where, Bon tells Judith, he and his comrades found the imported stationery on which he's writing to her is undoubtedly somewhere along the line of Sherman's 'March' (102). And "in Carolina," further on in the retreat and later on in the novel, is the "pine grove" where, amid "the gaunt and ragged men sitting or lying about" the "bivouac fires" (280), Colonel Sutpen tells his son Henry why Bon "must not marry" Judith (283).

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Carolina in the Civil War
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Carolina in the Civil War